A Design Framework: What Is It?
To deliver successful projects, many businesses and startups adopt one or more UX design frameworks. These frameworks are used by design teams to direct decision-making and address issues.
For design projects, a design framework is a collection of tools, processes, and workflows. Design frameworks give teams a methodical way to tackle issues and complete projects.
Design frameworks aid in the onboarding of new employees and the transfer of responsibility. New team members are able to navigate the project to completion by following an established, structured process that is familiar to them.
Design frameworks help teams along the way rather than forcing everyone to think and work in a certain way. The framework offers a structured process for solving problems rather than instructing team members on what to do.
Why are Design Frameworks Necessary?
The following are some of the main advantages of design frameworks:
- Teams execute tasks consistently and methodically
- Throughout the product development process, engineers, product teams, and UX designers communicate with each other and work together
- Less design drift and mistakes
- Eliminate bottlenecks to increase productivity
- Ensure that teams have access to approved tools and methods for resolving design and development problems
8 UX Design Frameworks
UX design frameworks help to structure the design process and the product development process. Depending on the outcome desired, design teams employ a variety of frameworks.
This article discusses eight UX design frameworks:
- Design Thinking Process
- Double Diamond
- Hook Model
- Lean UX
- Agile UX
- BASIC Framework
- The UX Honeycomb
- The Fogg Behavior Model
1. Design Thinking Process
Most UX frameworks and workflows are built on the design thinking methodology. Every UX designer worldwide studies this framework as part of their UX design education.
The design thinking process is an iterative user-centered framework with five (5) stages:
- 1Empathize: Discover what your users need
- 2Define: Determine the problem you want to solve
- 3Ideate: Develop possible solutions to users’ problems
- 4Prototype: Create prototypes
- 5Test: Test your prototypes with users & stakeholders
Read more about those five stages of the design thinking process.
2. Double Diamond
An outcomes-based framework favored for design innovation is the double diamond. The framework promotes teamwork and innovative thinking by allowing members to develop and refine ideas.
There are two (2) stages (diamonds) and four steps to the double diamond framework:
Stage One – Preparation:
- Discover: To better understand user needs and issues, UX teams conduct UX research. In order to understand and identify problems, researchers must interact with end users through interviews and usability studies.
- Define: Insights from discovery are used by teams to specify and rank the issues that need to be resolved by their projects.
Stage Two – Prototyping & Testing:
- Develop: UX teams create ideas and solutions to users' problems using a variety of ideation and prototyping techniques.
- Deliver: With end users and stakeholders, teams must test their solutions. They discard failed approaches and iterate to make successful ones even better.
3. Hook Model
The Hooked Model is a framework created by Nir Eyal to "build habit-forming products." The framework encourages designers to take an ethical approach to these projects while providing value to clients.
The four (4) stages of the Hooked Model are as follows:
- 1Trigger: Understand what external or internal triggers users to take a specific actions
- 2Action: Define the action you want users to take
- 3Variable reward: An unexpected, positive reward users get for completing an action
- 4Investment: Provide users with an incentive to invest more time in the product, thus repeating the cycle
4. Lean UX
A collaborative design framework called Lean UX puts results above deliverables. Designers must base decisions on facts rather than conjecture. By removing features that are unnecessary, this methodology creates products that are leaner and better able to solve problems.
There are three (3) stages to the Lean UX framework:
- Think: Outcomes, assumptions, user research, ideate, mental models, sketches, storyboards
- Make: Wireframes, UI design, mockups, prototypes (minimum viable products), value propositions, hypotheses
- Check: Analyze data & analytics, usability testing, stakeholder and user feedback
5. Agile UX
An agile UX framework was created to complement agile software development. Agile UX follows 12 guiding principles, just like agile software development.
- 1Customer experience (CX)
- 2Harnessing technological and social change
- 3Development timelines that make good use of resources
- 4Adaptive collaboration
- 5Building projects around motivated individuals
- 6Effective communication across team channels
- 7Working applications and high-quality UX as success benchmarks
- 8Sustainable development
- 9Technical excellence is relative
- 11Cross-functional teams
- 12Adaptable, flexible teams
6. BASIC Framework
BASIC UX is “a framework for usable products.” The relatively new framework offers recommendations for interaction design for contemporary product development.
The BASIC acronym follows five (5) principles:
- B = Beauty
- A = Accessibility
- S = Simplicity
- I = Intuitiveness
- C = Consistency
Designers must answer several questions within each principle to produce successful results.
- Is the visual design aesthetically pleasing?
- Does it follow the style guide?
- Are high-quality visuals used?
- Is it properly aligned?
- Can ‘everyone’ use it?
- Does it comply with standards?
- Are high-quality visuals used?
- Does it reduce the user’s workload?
- Is it free of clutter and repetitive text?
- Is its functionality necessary?
- Is the functionality clear?
- Can the user achieve their goal with little or no initial instructions?
- Can the user easily repeat the task without further instruction?
- Can the user predict the outcome/output?
- Does the product reuse existing UI patterns?
- Are the design language, images, and branding consistent with the design system?
- Does it appear in the right place at the right time?
- Does the product perform consistently every time?
To make sure that these questions are pertinent to the product and its users, organizations can modify them or add new ones.
7. The UX Honeycomb
UX Honeycomb by Peter Morville is a comprehensive design framework that outlines seven guiding principles. To produce high-quality products and user experiences, these seven design principles serve as a guide.
The Seven (7) guiding principles of the UX Honeycomb:
- 1Useful: Products must serve users and solve their problems
- 2Usable: Designs must be intuitive and easy to use
- 3Desirable: The user interface design must be aesthetically pleasing and deliver a positive user experience
- 4Findable: Search, and navigation must be clear and obvious
- 5Accessible: Designs must be accessible to all users, including those with disabilities
- 6Credible: Users must be able to trust the product and its content
- 7Valuable: The final product must deliver value to users and the business
8. The Fogg Behavior Model
According to the Fogg Behavior Model, developed by B J Fogg of Stanford University, behavior or action is the result of three factors coming together:
The Fogg Behavior Model aids designers in creating products that foster long-term usage and engagement, much like the Hooked Model does. Fogg emphasizes that taking "baby steps" is the best strategy for creating long-lasting habits.
Any digital game is a wonderful example that many of us have had. Players feel successful after completing the first level, which makes them more engaged. As players interact with the product more frequently, the game becomes progressively harder.